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Full text of "Letters of a man of the times, to the citizens of Baltimore. : "

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Shelf Xo. 









LETTERS 



OF 



A MAN OF THE TIMES, 



TO THE 



CITIZENS OF BALTIMORE. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/lettersofmanoftiOOkenn 



LETTERS 



A MAN OF THE TIMES, 



TO THE 



CITIZENS OF BALTIMORE 



[Originally published isa tlio American.] 



Baltimore: 

PRINTED BY SANDS & NEILSON ; 

N. E. corner Charles & Market-sis. 

1836. 



LETTERS 



A WORD TO THE CITIZENS OF BALTIMORE. 
JVo. I. 

I propose to call your attention to a subject of the most engrossing 
importance to the prosperity of the city. The time for decisive and 
energetic action towards the completion of the Rail Road to the 
Ohio has arrived. The road must be completed, — and speedily, for 
we have no time to lose. It must be completed, no matter at what 
cost. The city has credit, and that resource must be used liberally: 
— the present generation are able to pay interest ; let the next gen- 
eration pay the principal. I think every man ill the city of Balti- 
more will echo these sentiments when he comes to understand our 
present condition and is acquainted with the motives that urge us 
to move forward. First, Let it be well remembered that the Penn- 
sylvania canals have transported during the last year commerce be- 
tween Philadelphia and the west, which in tolls, has yielded the 
amount of $1,231,567 — even exceeding the present income of the 
great Erie Canal by $19,966. 

This is the first fruit of the Pennsylvania canals. What enthusi- 
ast, what visionary, what fancy-monger of marvels, even in his wild- 
est dream, dreamed up to this reality? Yet there it is in print; and all 
Pennsylvania is rejoicing and boasting in the success of her under- 
taking. Philadelphia furnished the money. What do the good 
people of that city say ? Why, that twenty millions were never so 
well expended before, and if the thing wa3 to be done again they 



would do it. This is the first reason why Baltimore should act, 
because it is a lesson of experience. 

The second reason is more urgent. I do not wish to be called a 
sounder of alarms where there is no cause for alarm ; but I wish to 
awaken the people to the inquiry whether there is not indeed some- 
thing to fear. Your day of prosperity is gliding by, and the 
streams of your power are stealing from you. The West has gone 
to Philadelphia, and Philadelphia is providing for its hospitable re- 
ception and entertainment. What must be the amount of trade that 
could furnish near 1,300,000 dollars of tolls ? Immense, undoubt- 
edly ! — Yet that is the trade which has fallen into the lap of Phila- 
delphia. 

Remember that thirty years ago our neighbor city was not so large 
as Baltimore is now. What has made her grow ? Was she nearer 
to the sea then you are ? — No. Was she nearer to the West ? No: 
— farther off, by a hundred miles. Had she a Potomac or a Sus- 
quehanna emptying themselves at her feet ? No. — She had her 
little Delaware and her smaller Schuylkill — both running the wrong 
way for any western trade. And what was worse for her, she had 
for a neighbor the great mart of the Ocean and the River — the city of 
New-York, — full of robust health and teeming with resource. But 
she had, what was a match for all, wise and spirited citizens who 
could foresee wha«t labour and money might do for her, and who 
straightway set about what seemed good to them, undismayed by 
the outlay of millions. They made the canals by the impulse which 
they gave to the legislation of their State, and by the promptitude 
and boldness with which they entered into every necessary money 
engagement. Have they been repaid ? — Ask them ! And this is what 
made Philadelphia grow. But, I said the streams of your power are 
stealing from you. Is it not true ? — You had once the largest flour 
market of the Union. The New York Canal has deprived you of 
that boast, and western New York has stolen your customers from 
you. The Pennsylvania Canals will play you the same game: — 
they have already made a larger market than yours. You had a 
great tobacco trade. New York is now taking hold of it, and so is 
Philadelphia. Their share will be the Lion's share. Look to it ! 
Have you any branch of trade that these sturdy rivals may not as- 



sail ? — Not one. Then, again, there is Charleston, who has already- 
got nearer to the Western waters than you have, and unless you be 
early and bravely on your march, will be there before you. And 
there is Richmond in the field ! She too will have her highway to 
the Western waters. Is it not time that Baltimore was at work? — 
Not to make piddling efforts to creep ten miles and then rest: — 
not to deal in little expedients and devices, such as might embellish 
the annals of a village in the endeavor to get a clock in the church 
steeple, or to new gild the weather cock — or some such matter 
wherein first a lottery is tried and then a ladies' fair, and so forth: 
— Is it not time that Baltimore should come out with all her spirit 
and all her wisdom, and resolve that her rail road shall be forthwith 
done to its extreme points, and thereto soberly and earnestly pledge 
her credit, her wealth and all that is needful ? If she does so the 
road will be accomplished in three years from this da}', and every 
Baltimorean will then be thankful that he had the good sense to 
make the resolve. The day that sees this done will be a day of re- 
joicing to him, as such things have been to the people of Philadel- 
phia. The money expended, the credit pledged will be returned 
four-fold. The possessions of the city will be enhanced in value 
beyond any man's imaginings. The success of rivals will no long- 
er be a subject of repining; for Baltimore will then have regained 
that pre-eminence of position which, before canals or rail roads were 
thought of, made her rich; and which will make her rich and pros- 
perous as long as she keeps pace with the improvements of her 
neighbors. I will demonstrate this to every man's satisfaction, to- 
morrow or next day. 

There is a third reason why you should be at work. The peo- 
ple of the West are ready to help you. They are not of a sluggish 
temper, and they cannot afford to be idle. Tliey have invited you 
to come on : at Brownsville they have invited you. Never were 
men more in earnest than they are. The utmost unanimity pre- 
vails amongst them. They will contribute according to their wealth 
more than you have contributed according to your wealth. If you 
do notjoin with them now, I mean literally now — If you wait an- 
other year, Philadelphia or New York will tempt them with an of- 
fer, and they will hail the temptation. They are restless, and anx- 



ious, and cannot wait much longer. This enterprise is their life. 
The young and vigorous West cannot lag behind the day; — If you 
loiter they must find another ally. Pittsburg has a million of dol- 
lars to give you. But who shall say if in another year Philadelphia 
should propose a rail road to her, she will not follow her natural 
affections and take the alliance of her sister city ? If this should so 
turn out, then you get no money from her. And is it improbable 
that Pennsylvania will so soon talk of a Rail Road to the west? 
Look at New York. The Erie Canal is insufficient, and they are 
now making a rail road almost beside it. Then, once more remem- 
ber that the trade of the Pennsylvania Canals is in their first year 
larger than that of the Erie in its tenth. Another thing; — the Penn- 
sylvania Canal is already now, and has been for a fortnight past, 
frozen up — its functions suspended, like a winter snake: — all this gol- 
den toil put asleep just when the country wanted it most. Is there 
no risk to Baltimore that Pennsylvania will turn her thoughts to a 
rail road? 

Now, after all this, reflect, 

First, That you have a rail road eighty miles on its way west. 

Second, That you have a canal laid out one hundred and twen- 
ty three miles further. 

Third, That you have it proved by ocular and scientific demon- 
stration (concerning which I shall say something hereafter) that 
your rail road can be taken across the Alleghany without the ne- 
cessity of stationary engines or other impediment to transporta- 
tion. 

And Fourth, That the whole line can be completed under such 
circumstances as to carry you to Wheeling and Pittsburg in every 
season of the year in twenty-four hours. 

Reflect upon these facts, and then say whether you do not owe 
it to your country, yourselves, your children and their descendants, 
that you should, at once, without further debate, hesitation or delay, 
set about finishing the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road. 

I will show you before lam done, (in opposition to an opinion 
which I have lately seen expressed in some of the papers,) that this 
is the best mode to get to the West. — And I will also take occasion 
to clear up some mistakes that seem to be prevalent in regard to the 



past operations of the company which has so far conducted the Rail 
Road westward. 

A MAN OF THE TIMES. 



HOW DOES BALTIMORE STAND ? 
JVo. II. 

I promised yesterday to show that whatever Baltimore has lost 
by her neglect of her own interests, she may yet regain. Every 
thing else being equal, she enjoys natural facilities of trade greater 
than those enjoyed by any other city in the Union, except New 
York, and perhaps New Orleans: To maintain this advantage she 
must, of course, keep pace with her neighbors in all their efforts to 
increase their commercial advantages. These Rail Roads and Ca- 
nals, in effect, shorten distances. When other cities, therefore, 
shorten their distances from the sources of trade, Baltimore must 
shorten her's, or she will be left behind. That is clear, and every 
man will understand it. Then, again, if Baltimore had the advan- 
tage at first, she will have it at last, provided she moves when the 
others move, and does as much as they do. That is a clear propo- 
sition too. — Well, if this is understood, what need of many words ? 

Baltimore should imitate the spider ; spread her lines towards 
every point of the compass, and lodge in the centre of them. Nev- 
er was there a city better situated for this design. The Susquehan- 
na leads north, near the habitations of a million of people. The 
Rail Road and Canal towards the Deleware, both lead East, and are 
connected with lines of rapid and cheap travel as far as Maine. — 
The Chesapeake stretches South, and will presently be a link in a 
chain of transportation all along the coast, and across the Florida 
peninsula to New Orleans : — they are about this scheme now, who 
will do it, and who will bring us within seven days of New Or- 
leans. The Potomac stretches West, and the Rail Road along its 
valley will reach the Ohio at Pittsburg and Wheeling within the 
distance of a day's travel. These are the four cardinal lines. North, 



8 

East, South and West. Every one of these lines has fifty good 
lateral branches, which may penetrate hundreds of miles right and 
left. Is it not true that Baltimore may easily be made the centre 
of the spider's web ? And is there any body who can doubt that 
to make her so will be worth the money ? — What will be the effect 
of this ? 

Why, if a merchant of New York or Boston, or Portland, wishes 
to get to the Ohio, he will travel through Baltimore. So of a mer- 
chant of N.Orleans, or Mobile or Savannah, Charleston or Richmond. 
It seems strange to say that a resident of N. Orleans wishing to go 
to Wheeling, Pittsburg, to the lakes, or even to Cincinnati — it seems 
strange to say he will travel through Baltimore ; — but still it is a 
thing that will be. All who wish to make the journey expeditious- 
ly will do it. There is soon to be a steam boat from New Orleans 
to the Suwaney, in Florida: a company is now organizing to make 
a rail road across to St. John's river, forty miles ; and thence a line 
of steam boats will run to Baltimore : — this is now in a train of 
accomplishment, and the time icill be seven days. One day more 
takes the traveller to Wheeling or Pittsburg. Could he get to these 
cities in the same time by ascending the river ? No. 

Well, is it to be believed that all this travel from North, South, 
East and West, is to pass through Baltimore ; that millions of per- 
sons shall journey by this route in the daily inland commerce of 
our country ; — that three or four millions of people West shall hold 
intercourse with three or four millions North, South, and East, in 
the constant experience of the advantage of making Baltimore a 
point in their journeys and communications, and yet that it shall 
not occur to any of these people that Baltimore herself will be a 
good point for commerce ? That cannot be believed. Merchants 
of New York will find that they can best supply their Western cus- 
tomers by establishing houses in Baltimore. These will be agen- 
cies at first. The principals will import into New York, and the 
agents will sell in Ealtimore. The two cities will form alliances. 
Partners will be stationed in each: and as the kindred grows strong- 
er, Baltimore will be the hand-maid, the help-mate of the city of 
the Hudson. In this relation will she increase and multiply, and 
wax rich and strong. These things will surely come to pass : — in 
thirty, in twenty, perhaps in ten years. 



We expressed great dissatisfaction in 1823, when one of our 
Delegates in the Legislature voted for half a million of the public 
treasure to be given to the Chesepeake and Ohio Canal. The 
wrath of the city was deep and overwhelming. If it had been two 
millions and had passed, and the canal had been made as it ought 
to have been, what would have been your situation to-day? You 
can answer that. We have been twelve years learning wisdom. 
Let not another year of unprofitable delay visit you. The local 
advantages of Baltimore should be well considered. Look at them 
again. 

First, we have the whole valley of the Susquehanna reaching up 
into the State of New York. 

Second, we are now making two communications, a rail road and 
canal, by which we shall in a short time be brought in connection 
with the whole twenty millions worth of Pennsylvania improve- 
ments. That will do something for us certainly. It will give us 
as much of the interior trade of Pennsylvania as may not find an 
inducement to go to Philadelphia. But it will not be a satisfactory 
highway for us to get to the West. — Let not the people of Baltimore 
delude themselves with the expectation that this route will satisfy 
our western trade. When we offer a better market than Philadel- 
phia, these Pennsylvania canals will bring us merchandise. It will 
be long before either our imports or exports can be conducted on 
better terms to the country trader than those of Philadelphia. We 
must not reckon on that. Still these canals will do much for the 
supply of our own consumption ; and that is no small matter. — 
Besides, this route is too slow : it gets frozen up ; and then again 
it does not go to the point to which our western communications 
should tend — that is to Wheeling, — the head, it .nay be called, of 
navigation on the Ohio. Pittsburg is a very important terminus, it 
is true — but it is also of the utmost concern to us that we should 
strike the river lower down. It is in not duly estimating the value 
of these considerations that the author of the essay in the American, 
a few days ago, signed C A Baltimorean, 5 has fallen into an error. 
He should have measured the distance of Wheeling, which would 
have added about 120 miles to his Pennsylvania route westward : 
— he should also have added the distance from Baltimore to Colurn- 
5 



10 

bia by water — for most of the trade he speaks of would come upon 
the canal to tide — and this would put another 100 miles to his ac- 
count ; — thus giving by his route to Wheeling a distance of six 
hundred miles, and a time, at the least, of fourteen days, whilst by 
the Rail road westward we should get to Wheeling in about 380 
miles, and accomplish the journey in twenty-four hours. This 
makes a great difference. One is travelling the bow at a snail's 
pace — the other is flying along the string. To say nothing of the win- 
ter months, when all will be as fast as an icicle : — to say nothing too 
of the danger of sending our western customers so near the range 
of attraction of that load-stone city on the Delaware, — still, after 
all, we may count upon the Pennsylvania canals as great and im- 
portant auxiliaries to our trade. 

Third, We have the Shenandoah Valley penetrated by the Win- 
chester Rail road, and to be penetrated by another, which shall 
reach from Winchester to Staunton. Every body knows the fertili- 
ty of the Great Valley of Virginia. 

Then Fourth, we have our contemplated route to Pittsburg and 
Wheeling. — Is this road to end at these points ? So far from it 
that they will be centres. Pittsburg and W r heeling will be con- 
verted into Atlantic towns, and as they grow they will begin to 
talk about the measures to secure the trade of the West, as we are 
doing now. The West shall be East, — and where the Far West 
shall be, no man on this side of the Pacific coast can say. Ohio 
is already talking of prolonging our Rail road to the mouth of the 
Maumee. And this will be done — perhaps by the time when we 
reach Wheeling. Think of a rail road from Baltimore that shall take 
you to the seat of war between Ohio and Michigan in forty-eight 
hours ! — but this will assuredly be. — And now, how does Balti- 
more stand ? 

A MAN OF THE TIMES. 



11 



WHAT OUGHT BALTIMORE TO DO ? 
JYo. III. 

What ought Baltimore to do ? The answer may be made the 
posey of a ring. Finish the Road. Marry, how ? With money: — 
it will not cost above seven or eight millions of dollars I And this 
is the way we will do it. Pittsburg and Wheeling will find a mil- 
lion each. The Legislature will give us three millions, and Balti- 
more will give two, and, if need be, one more. I say Baltimore will 
give two or three millions, as they may be required. I know she 
will do it. The owners of property, the capitalists, the taxables of 
the city are ready to go the whole. 

The non-taxables have always been ready : so we will instruct 
their worships of the City Council to come out with the proposi- 
tion at once. It is very important that we should begin the move- 
ment : because when we have shown ourselves in earnest, the Legis- 
lature will take it up, and the Western people will follow quickly. 
Baltimore should first vote to give one million, and pledge herself 
to give whatever more may be wanting, as far as three millions. 

It is the public who should furnish the money in their corporate 
character — not private stockholders. There are four good reasons 
for this. 

First. — The benefit is diffusive : it belongs to the public. All 
kinds of property increase in value by it : either in actual addition 
to the money value, as in the case of houses and lands ; or by 
rapidity of sale, as in the case of articles of merchandise. The good 
is therefore universal, and it should be procured at the common ex- 
pense. 

Second. — Private capital has been already too much drained. — 
Our good merchants are milch cows, and we are too apt to go to 
them to fill the public pails. I would rather their capital were kept 
to supply the wants of trade. It is better they should have it, than 
any companies or corporations — 1 mean better for the public. 

Third. — Private stockholders look for dividends. They are per- 
suaded to put their money down as a good investment. They grum- 



ble, therefore, if they do not quickly get dividends — they find fault, 
and talk about reforms; — they reform, and no good comes of it. E- 
very body will see that many works are full of benefits to the public, 
and yet do not divide six per cent. Suppose every man's property is 
enhanced in value one hundred per cent, by a rail road : — that is in 
itself equal to an additional annual dividend of six per cent, on his 
whole fortune, and yet his little subscription in the rail road may not 
yield him three per cent, on its own amount. He has two hundred 
dollars, where he had but one before; and the second hundred is worth 
six dollars a year over and above what he owned at first. But pri- 
vate stockholders make no allowances for these benefits — the public 
always does. Jt is better that the public should furnish the money. 
Fourth. — The last reason is a very important one just now. The 
public authorities have better credit than private persons. They can 
borrow the money at low interest. They can borrow at three or 
three and a half per cent. 

Upon the whole, therefore, I think you will agree with me that 
the money should be raised by the credit of the city. 

In truth, it is a matter of no hazard or difficulty. As to the haz- 
ard of undertaking such an expense, that is a topic which a man of 
1835 ought to be ashamed to discuss. It was one of the themes of 
the era of resolutions — fifteen years ago — when we used to meet in 
town meetings and resolve to do every thing — this is the era of act- 
ing, not of resolving. 'D — il take your resolutions ." as a gallant 
veteran of our city said on a late occasion — 'follow me !' Let that 
be a motto now, and we will follow the same worthy personage, en 
masse, to put the city on her march Westward. There is no hazard 
about it, nor any difficulty. Suppose we have to raise three millions, 
and suppose, and what is absurd to suppose, that no returns are re- 
ceived from the public works, and that we have to pay the whole 
interest ourselves. The money will cost us three and a half per 
cent : — that is about $100,000 a year. Well, what is that ? It is a 
dollar a head in the city, and soon would be but a half dollar a head: 
for our population, from this very impulse, would increase from one 
hundred up to two hundred thousand souls. A dollar a head ! — 
Every tenth pair of hands in this city will easily pay for ten heads ; 
and, at last, it is a small aflair. But what follows ? 



13 

I think they say we have forty millions of taxable property under 
the new assessment. We will make these forty millions eighty, by 
the simple process of putting on a tax of one hundred thousand dol- 
lars. You may count for yourselves what the per centage is. Is 
it not a trifle ? Imagine, besides, the advantage of an increase of 
even fifty thousand people to our population. 

Then I say Baltimore will move in this matter. The people de- 
sire it. The owners of property are ready for it. I have talked to 
them in all quarters and they are up with the Times. The City 
Council must know this. These deliberative bodies are apt to be 
too deliberate. So, gentlemen, wake up ! Do not be afraid — but see 
the people, talk to them, and then you will find that you are behind 
them. Look to the Mayor ! there is pith in him ; — and, I warrant, 
he leads you gallantly to the summit of the people's wishes; 

When we have voted our contingent, the legislature will vote 
theirs; and, as 1 said before, the cities and towns of the West will 
not be behind hand. Then we shall be sure of finishing the work- 
How are we to carry it on ? 

The Rail Road company must do it in three years. They will 
let out every forty miles on contracts at once, and work on both 
ends of these sections. The road will be much cheaper in its pro- 
gress Westward than it has been so far, because the art of making 
roads is now better understood, and because the country is more 
favorable to the route. Our present company have done wonders 
and are entitled to the thanks of the city. I will show this to-mor- 
row. They will work henceforth to great advantage, because their 
apparatus and organization is of the best. 

As the Road gets onward, the citizens of Baltimore will be sur- 
prised with the results. I end to day with a prediction. In six 
months from this daij, we shall le in full career Westward— the 
Rail Road stock will le up and still rising — the City of Balti- 
more will rejoice at the developments of every month. All this 
provided there be no French war. 

A MAN OF THE TIMES. 



14 



SOMETHING TOUCHING THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO 
RAIL ROAD COMPANY. 

JVo. IT 9 . 

I said I would correct some prevalent errors in regard to the pro- 
cee dings of the Rail Road Company. — That Company has not had 
justice done it in common opinion. It has been much more effi- 
cient, much more useful, much more judicious than the majority of 
the people of Baltimore believe. It has had extraordinary difficul- 
ties to contend with, and great allowances are to be made for its 
mistakes, if it has committed any. We should sustain it, encour- 
age it, and give it credit for much good service to the city. 

It was no light matter to serve as pioneers to the whole system 
of rail road improvements in the United States; to make the first ex- 
periments; to learn as well as to teach the first practical lessons of 
the art. This was no light matter; yet this was done by the Bal- 
timore Company; and their perseverance and success are worthy 
of all praise. They have done for rail roads in this country almost 
what Clinton did for Canals. — They had to try all modes of loca- 
tion and graduation, all kinds of rails, cars, wheels — with friction 
rollers and without them, — all kinds of engines before they could 
assure themselves that they had adopted the best and cheapest of 
each particular. None of these things had been demonstrated for 
them. Such experiments require large outlays and much careful 
investigation, much patience, and much good will from the stock- 
holders. All other rail roads have profited by these labours: and yet 
the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road is as good, as permanent, and as 
cheap — aye, as cheap a road per mile as any in the country. 

This is not generally known ; but it is true. As a matter of pub- 
lic interest, and especially so at this moment, I asked the Company 
to give me a statement of all their expenditures from the beginning. 
They did not hesitate to gratify me with an exhibition of all the 
details I sought for. These details are set out in a general balance 
sheet, which I here publish as I received it from the hands of the 
Company: — 



15 

Exhibit of the entire receipts and disbursements (appertaining to 
their capital and construction of the Road) of the Baltimore and 
Ohio Hail Road Company, from its first organization to the pres- 
ent time. 

The Company have received $75 per share, on 40,- 

OOO shares of stock, 3,000,000 

$25 per share additional on two shares paid in full, 50 

Amount of Capital entitled to dividends, 3,000,050 

The Company have further received $25 additional per 
share in full, on 10,000 shares, owned half by the 
State, and half by the city, and advanced to the Com- 
pany at 5 per cent, interest per annum, 250,000 



3,250,050 



They have also borrowed at 6 per ct. interest, 1,000,000 
Of which they have invested in 9388 shares 
of the Washington Branch Rail Road 
Stock, 938,800 



61,200 



And applied the balance, $61,200 to the gen- 
eral purposes of the Company, making a 

total of 3,311,250 

Which has been expended as follows, viz: 
For Graduation including the $266,000 paid 

in the compromise with the Chesapeake and 

Ohio Canal Company 1,234,575 43 

For Masonry, 337,706 34 

• 1,572,282 77 

For expense of laying the Rail- way tracks, 

including cost of all materials, 939,561 97 

For right of way and damages, 106,773 14 

For reconnoissances of the entire country 
between Baltimore and the Ohio river, 
and extending from the waters of the 
Youghogany to the Great Kanhawa, in- 
cluding Surveys and instruments, 



16 

For Contingent Expenses, viz : for obtain- 
ing the charters in Maryland, Virginia, & 
Pennsylvania, obtaining subscriptions to 
the Stock and organizing the Company, 
— of various Committees to Annapolis, 
Washington, &c; — Mission to England, 
— Office Expenses, including advertis- 
ing, printing, salaries, &c. &c. 86,166 79 
For Law expenses, including fees of Coun- 
sel, 33,773 46 
For Real Estate & Construction of Depots, 192,600 47 
For Locomotive Steam Power, 27,311 20 
For Passenger Cars (about 51) 33,255 24 
For Burthen Cars (1118) 164,000 00 
For Horses and Mules (425) and Harness, 45,338 45 



Making a total expended on items apper- 
taining to the Capital of 3,266,969 01 

Besides the above the Company have paid 
at different times, a large amount of In- 
terest, of which there still remains to be 
returned out of Revenue the sum of 



3,310,084 15 
Shewing a balance in hand of 1,165 85 



■3,311,250 



Office Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road 
Company, Dec. 10, 1835. 



Now it is worth while to give this document a careful examina- 
tion. I will say a few words in reference to some of these figures. 

The rail road commencing at the City Block and terminating at 
Frederick and Harper's Ferry is eighty-five miles long. The whole 
cost of graduation and masonry is $1,572,282 77. The expense 
of laying the tracks is $939,561 97. The entire cost of the work 
and material of the road is therefore $2,51 1,844 74, which divided 
by 85, gives us a little over $29,500 per mile ; and this includes the 
sum of $266,000 paid in the compromise with the Canal Company. 



w 

When this enterprise was first set on foot a committee reported 
that the probable cost of the road would be $20,000 a mile; but 
that report had reference to a road over an undulating surface and 
with wooden bridges. This road however has been constructed 
with a regular moderate grade, ascending to a single summit, and is 
provided with stone bridges of the most permanent character. — 
These bridges contain 87,146 perches of masonry, and have cost 
nearly$3 88,000. Yet notwithstanding these valuable additions to the 
original design, the road would have but little exceeded §26,000 per 
mile, if it had not been for the unlooked for decision which com- 
pelled the Company to pay $266,000 to the Canal. 

Jn the documents accompanying the 6th annual report of the 
Company there will be seen at page 70 the following statement 
from the superintendant of graduation and masonry : — "The gradu- 
ation and masonry of the first six miles of the road which extends 
from Pratt street to the second crossing of the Washington Turn- 
pike, cost at the rate of $72,797 a mile; while that on the next six- 
ty-five miles (to the Point of Rocks) cost at the rate of only $10,- 
546 a mile ; thus showing that the first six miles cost per mile very 
nearly seven times as much as the next sixty-five miles. 

"The cost of that part of the line between Baltimore and Ellicott's 
Mills, 13 miles, for graduation and masonry, was $605,912 52 cts. 
whilst that on the next 58 miles was but $516,598 08 cts., thus 
showing that those thirteen miles cost $89,314 50 cents more than 
the last 58 miles ; and that while the first thirteen miles cost at the 
rate of $46,354 56 cents a mile, the last 58 miles cost at the aver- 
age rate of only $8,913 38 cts. per mile." 

This is certainly encouraging to the future progress of the road ; 
and while it exhibits the very striking difference between a company 
laboring through the impediments of an art in its infancy, and the 
same company fortified with the skill and judgment of experience, 
it also demonstrates the earnest, efficient and praiseworthy efforts of 
the company to repair the inevitable expense attending their first 
steps. Besides this, the difficulties of the first six miles were such 
as might have conquered the perseverance of many companies. The 
town forced the rail road to a high level and a direct line from the 
Patapsco to the upper sections of the city. I well remember the 
3 



18 

strife and popular outcry to compel the Company to that location.— 
They had no choice. There is a great secret in rail road making 
which was then found out. The secret is never to cross the streams 
and hills at right angles when it can be avoided : pursue the valleys 
and hill sides. By doing the first you are perpetually either cut- 
ting down or filling up : — and that is the whole mystery of the $72,- 
000 a mile, out to the Patapsco. 

All this is past: and notwithstanding these early drawbacks, the 
Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road has not actually cost $50,000 a mile, 
and will not hereafter cost $25,000. Now I do not believe that 
there is a good, substantial rail road in the United States that has 
cost less. I am endeavoring to get information on this point, and 
when I get it I will lay it before the city. 

The company has done ample justice to the great work which 
has been confided to their hands. Their affairs are prosperous, and 
the public will soon know it in the fruits of their operations. The 
report of the present year shows that the total receipts of the last 
twelvemonths are $263,368 10, and the total expenditures during 
the same time, are $156,204 39, leaving a nett revenue of $107,- 
165 71. This is the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road. The capital 
invested is $3,311,250. The increase of gross receipts over last 
year is $57,931 52 ; of nett revenue it is $34,589 54 — Mark that ! 

I have given the figures, because figures are arguments ; and I 
Jiope that every reflecting citizen of Baltimore will bestow his atten- 
tion upon the facts I have set down. I repeat that the Baltimore 
and Ohio Rail Road Company have done well, and that error pre- 
vails in the city in regard to their proceedings. 

A MAN OF THE TIMES. 



TO THE CITIZENS OF BALTIMORE. 

I have only one more topic to bring before you. In a former com- 
munication I showed you that the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road had 
cost, upon an average, somewhat less than $30,000 a mile, includ- 



19 

ing'the charge of $266,000 paid on compromise to the Canal Com^ 
pany, and that, excluding this charge, the average cost a mile was 
about $26,000. I said, moreover, that I did not believe there was 
as good and substantial a road in the United States, that had cost 
less. 

I have been seeking information on this point, and, upon the best 
authority, I am warranted in giving the following statement. 

The Providence and Boston Rail Road has cost upwards of $50,- 
000 a mile. 

The Lowell and Boston upwards of $40,000. 
The Worcester and Boston upwards of $30,000. 
The Norristown Rail Road, of 16 miles, upwards of $31,000 
per mile. 

The Philadelphia and Columbia, with an undulating surface, seve- 
ral summits, and with wooden bridges, about $45,000. 

The French Town and New Castle, over a level district of allu- 
vial country, free from rocks, with little or no masonry, except what 
belongs to one small bridge, and with a single track, $30,000. 

The New-York and Harlaem road is supposed to cost upwards 
of $60,000. 

The Liverpool and Manchester upwards of $150,000. Compare 
these roads with the Baltimore and Ohio road ; reflect upon the dif- 
ficulties of the first six miles on this road ; observe its embankments 
and excavations ; its course along precipices and through beds of 
solid rock ; regard its bridges of the most durable masonry ; and, a- 
bove all, consider the novelty of the enterprise, when it was com- 
menced, and then tell me, was I not right in saying, this company 
had done wonders ? I say again, they are entitled to the gratitude 
of the city for their perseverance and energy. They have so far ac- 
complished a work of the most disheartening difficulty ; and accom- 
plished it with a degree of economy, judgment and fidelity unsur- 
passed in any work of equal magnitude in this or any other coun- 
try. 

Well, what has been the result ? Has it been a signal failure, as 
some good people in this city have declared ? The capital spent is 
a little over $3,000,000 : the road finished is 85 miles ; it has not yet 
reached any point from which a new trade was expected. It has 



20 

neither penetrated the west, nor arrived at a coal-mine ; yet its nett 
profits are §107,000— about $3000 a month : three per cent, on the 
outlay! Is that a signal failure ? Has it brought no travel to the 
city of Baltimore ? Has it given the city no new customers ? Has it 
turned the, thoughts of no portions of the West to the establishment 
of permanent lines of trade with Baltimore f Verily, it has done 
all this : and the latter has it done especially ; which alone, I tell 
you, is worth all that has been spent and thrice as much more. — 
The Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road has set the people of Ohio upon 
the scheme of making rail roads from Wheeling, still further west. — 
They are going to the mouth of the Maumee. Since I wrote my 
last upon this subject, books have been opened in Wheeling and the 
whole stock was taken in an hour, for a Rail Road westward, which 
is but the first link in the continuation of our Road to the point of 
which I spoke. AH the West is alive with these schemes. The 
new State of Indiana — only 19 years old — has come out in the 
same career. The Governor's late Message tells the Legislature thai 
the people are in advance of them in spirit, and that no man in the 
Slate will be satisfied if less than ten millions is voted for purposes 
of Internal Improvements f They are admonished to vote for as 
much more as they may think proper. Here is a new State with a 
representation smaller than that of Maryland ! 

From the Maumee the lines of the western communication will 
rapidly be extended to St. Louis, through Ohio, Indiana, and Il- 
linois. — Have the operations of our Rail Road Company done noth- 
ing, I ask again, to determine the course of these Western routes > 
If they have, is this company to be charged with a signal fail- 
ure? 

Look at another matter. The nett profits of the Baltimore Road 
have increased last year nearly §3000 a month. What is to pre- 
vent its increasing hereafter ? The great expense of locomotives, 
and of all the apparatus of transportation, is already defrayed; and the 
same machinery will now, with but trifling addition of cost, perform 
double, nay, treble the work it now performs. Give it a flowing 
trade and there can be no doubt of its profits! Will it not get 
this when it arrives at the Ohio? Who can doubt it ? The passen- 
gers alone will yield a net revenue of a million per annum: four bun- 



21 

dred passengers a' day would give a gross revenue of near a million" 
and a half. 

But these are points no longer to be mooted. There is scarcely 
a man in Baltimore who does not acknowledge that the road ought" 
to be completed — and speedily. The City owes it to her own wis- 
dom to be prompt in this matter. The money must be furnished. 
Get what you can from others interested, but pledge yourselves to 
supply all the rest. Do not be alarmed at the idea of millions. — - 
Your credit can procure them; and the investment is altogether vi- 
tal to you. It is not above a fortnight since I began to write. 
Yet in that short time some of my predictions have become facts, 
I said Pennsylvania would tempt the West with a rail road from 
Philadelphia to Pittsburg. This scheme is already in agitation at 
Harrisburg. I said the people of Ohio would be on the move to 
make the road through the State towards the Lakes. The stock in 
one company for this object is already taken; and a great meeting 
has been held at Zancsville for the same purpose. 

in conclusion, let me say one word. IF BALTIMORE DOES 
NOT SHOW HERSELF IN EARNEST, THESE GREAT WES- 
TERN ENTERPRISES WILL SET THEIR FACES TOWARDS 
NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA! Then, good night ! 

A MAN OF THE TIMES. 



APPENDIX. 



The following report of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Compa- 
ny, to the Mayor and City Council, as it will serve to shew, from 
an authentic source, the present condition and future expectation, 
of that Company, is submitted to the consideration of the citizens 
of Baltimore. It presents an important and very satisfactory view 
of the capability to co-operate in the great scheme which it is the 
purpose of these letters to promote. 

TO THE HONORABLE 

THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF BALTIMORE. 

The President and Directors of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road 
Company avail themselves of the opportunity afforded by the com- 



22 

mencement of your annual session, to lay before you, in accordance 
with established usage, the report of the situation of the work 
which they have Under their charge. 

The Board are gratified in being able to state, that, in the comple- 
tion of the main stem of the road to Harper's Ferry and the Branch 
Road to the city of Washington, the expectations expressed in their 
last report to your honorable body have been fully realized. The for- 
mer was ready for use in December, 1S34, and the latter was opened 
for general travel on the 2Sth day of August last. The completion 
of the Winchester and Potomac road, which is near at hand, and its 
union with the main stem of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road, at 
Harper's Ferry, will open, at once, a rail road communication with 
Winchester, and secure to Baltimore a large portion of the trade of 
the valley of Virginia that now seeks other markets by different 
channels. 

During the last two years, great improvements have been made 
in the motive power used by the Company ; and the board have 
now the satisfaction to state, that they are procuring American en- 
gines manufactured in their own shops, which repeated experiments 
have proved to be superior to the best imported ones. For a full 
detail of their operations, the board respectfully refer to their ninth 
annual Report to the stockholders, copies of which are herewith 
presented. 

The main stem of the road having now reached a point where its 
progress is at present suspended by the agreement to that effect 
with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, and the branch 
road having been completed, the Board of Directors find, that but 
a part of the object which they were incorporated to effect has been 
accomplished ; and the question naturally presents itself — are they 
to suspend the undertaking midway of being executed, or, making 
a vigorous effort, and calling upon all available quarters for assist- 
ance, are they to persist, until Baltimore shall re-establish that con- 
nection with the West, which was the cause of the rapid growth of 
her youth, and the severance of which already threatens to afflict her 
with premature decay. The trade that was once exclusively en- 
joyed by Baltimore has passed from her. The neighboring cities of 
Philadelphia and New York have appropriated by far the greater 
portion of it. Not that their natural advantages are superior — not 
that, in geographical position, they are in closer proximity to the 
West than Baltimore — on the contrary, in point of measured dis- 
tance, Baltimore is much nearer to the West than either of them, — 
but because, by a liberal and steady application of their resources, 
they have substituted the aids of science and skill in place of natu- 
ral advantages, and have, by means of Rail Roads and Canals, di- 
minished, in effect, to less than one half, the distance that before 
divided them from the wide region on the farther side of the Alle- 
ghanies. 
Recent surveys from Cumberland, westward, to Pittsburgh and 



23 

Wheeling, have demonstrated, that a locomotive engine and its train 
may leave Baltimore, and, with one hundred and fifty passengers, 
reach Wheeling within the limits of a single day ; and this too, 
without the assistance of stationary power, or encountering ascend- 
ing or descending grades of more than fifty feet to the mile. San- 
guine as the expectations of the Board of Directors have been, at 
all times, in regard to the route by the Potomac, as the best of any 
which led from the Atlantic seaboard to the western waters, the re- 
sult here mentioned, and developed upon the recent survey, has far 
exceeded them. The route from New York to the west is circuit- 
ous. That from Philadelphia is composed of Rail road and Canal 
in alternation, and encounters summits that can only be passed by 
the use of inclined planes, worked by stationary engines; while, on 
the other hand, the route from Baltimore, through the mountain re- 
gion offers no greater difficulties than have to be encountered on 
the level country on either side, and none which the ordinary loco- 
motive power is not fully competent to surmount. 

The average time now required to convey a load of goods from 
Baltimore to Pittsburg is fourteen days, and the cost, per hundred 
weight, $1.50; while, from Philadelphia, the same load may be ta- 
ken to Pittsburg, in eight days, and at an expense of $1.12 \ per 
hundred weight. From Baltimore to Wheeling the time required 
is one day more than to Pittsburg, and the expense is proportion- 
ably greater. Is it, therefore, matter of any surprise, that trade 
leaves Baltimore and is diverted to Philadelphia ? Indeed the only 
wonder is, that any portion of it has remained with Baltimore so 
long. Now all that gives to Philadelphia the advantage is the 
cheapness of transportation from thence to the West, and it must be 
recollected that this cheapness has been effected by the works of in- 
ternal improvement of Pennsylvania, to which she has been so large 
a contributor. Before internal improvements were resorted to, Bal- 
timore was upon the vantage ground ; and she continued to hold it, 
until the openings of the Pennsylvania roads and canals reduced the 
distance from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, in effect, to less than the 
distance from Baltimore to Wheeling. 

Under these circumstances, the true policy of Baltimore is so evi- 
dent that no one can venture even to doubt about it. And what is 
it ? It is, by resorting to internal improvements, also, to restore 
Baltimore to the same situation, with reference to Philadelphia and 
New York, that she enjoyed while turnpike roads were yet the best 
known modes of intercommunication. With all the adjuncts of 
science and skill, with the best roads and the best machineiy, New 
York is still twelve days journey, for the transportation of goods, 
from the West, and Philadelphia, eight days ; while, on the other 
hand, the brief space of a single day, for the conveyance of passen- 
gers, and double that time for the transportation of goods, will be all 
that will divide Baltimore from the Ohio, should the Baltimore and 
Ohio Rail Road be continued over the mountains to Wheeling and 



24 

Pittsburg. A single day's journey ! The predictions of fanciful 
enthusiasm could scarcely have foretold so brilliant a result as this ; 
a result which is now placed within the reach of ordinary means, 
and which only needs energy and liberality for its accomplishment. 
Of all the cities of our country, there is not one whose position is 
so admirable as that of Baltimore. At the head of the noblest in- 
land bay in the world — close to the head of tide on the great rivers, 
which, on the North and West, penetrate the mountain ridges to- 
wards the rich and teeming vallies that lie beyond them ; — a point in 
the line of every great highway which can be marked out between 
the Northern and Southern sections of our land ; — it will be owing 
to her own supiness if her aggrandizement is not commensurate with 
her advantages — if, with wealth and increasing prosperity within 
her reach, an ill-judged economy limits her grasp to prevent her 
seizing them. At present, the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Com- 
pany possess what niay not again be granted, the powers, under 
charters from Pennsylvania and Virginia, necessary to complete that 
road to the west, upon which so much depends. 

At present, the people of the west are alive to the subject, and, as 
yet, trade has not become so settled in other channels that it may not 
be restored to its ancient one. The Legislature of Maryland, with 
the most praiseworthy liberality, showed its sense of the value of 
internal improvements, when, at the last session, it gave three mil- 
lions to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Susquehanna Rail 
Road, leaving but little doubt, when it did so, that, if those most in- 
terested evinced a liberality corresponding to the occasion, the 
Legislature would lend its powerful co-operation in completing 
the plan of Western intercourse contemplated when it granted the 
charter of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road. It is the increase of 
population, the increased value of property, the active business of 
every kind which engages human industry, that adds to the wealth 
of a municipal corporation ; and this increase is as necessary a con- 
sequence of the extension of Internal Improvements judiciously, as 
the effect is of the cause ; and no outlay is more sure of being re- 
turned ten-fold than that which pushes Canals and Rail Roads far 
from a commercial city towards the interior of a rich and growing 
country. Philadelphia has found it so ; New York has found it so; 
and both boast of the millions which they have spent in their res- 
pective undertakings. Let it not be said that Baltimore, with their 
experience before her eyes, with natural advantages far superior to 
theirs, and with a name hitherto synonymous with enterprize and 
liberality, lost all by hesitating to give the aid which was necessary 
to secure it. 

It is therefore earnestly hoped, that your honorable body will take 
the subject into consideration, and by a subscription commensurate 
with the interest of Baltimore in the scheme, promote that re-union 
with the West, which, when effected, will be enduring in its great 
and honorable results. On behalf of the Board, 

P. E. THOMAS, President. 



SHELF No 



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